Sunday, February 9, 2014

A question about basting and another version of Stars in the Loft

Bunny asked me if I baste through the paper when I make foundation pieced hexagons and my answer is "yes". In fact I generally baste through the paper whether or not the hexagon is foundation pieced because I get nice sharp corners. When the hexagon is foundation pieced it also helps keep the bulk of the seams nice and flat. Tomorrow I'll do a demonstration of how I baste my hexagons.

Many of you read about the making of my quilt Stars in the Loft in May 2013. I had found a quilt book in a hayloft in an old barn in the later 1990s.


There was a black and white picture of a beautiful quilt and knew I had to make the quilt. There was no information about the history of the quilt, the maker nor was there a pattern. It was simply described as a "mosaic quilt" and the pattern was called "honeycomb". Drafting a pattern was fairly straight forward. I loved the center medallion, especially the dark fabric with light coloured stripes but had no idea where I could find fabric to achieve that effect so that was the genesis of my foundation pieced English paper piecing technique.


I liked the idea that the picture was black & white because I wasn't influenced by the colours of the original. So here is my version of the quilt. I also took some liberties and put my own touches on the quilt one of which was the stars in the border.


This is a close-up of the center medallion.


I frequently searched for the original quilt and in 2013 I found it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was made by Elizabeth Van Horne Clarkson around 1830! a very different colour scheme from the one that I made.


When it rains it pours and I subsequently found another quilt, this one made in 1945 by Bertha Sheramsky Stenge (1891-1957). Bertha's quilt now resides is the Illinois State Museum. When I first found Bertha's quilt there was no information about her or the making of this quilt but I recently visited the Museum site and I was pleased to learn that the story about the making of this quilt parallel's my own story. In addition her biography is now available. You can read about Bertha here.  In 1929 Ruth Finley published a book Old Patchwork Quilts and it included a picture of the original quilt from the Metropolitan! Bertha replicated the original including the use of striped fabric in the medallion and the meandering border whereas I made my own striped fabric by piecing my hexagons! This led to a variety of other designs using the technique that I developed, foundation pieced English paper piecing.


So why am I telling you all of this? Well I recently came across yet another version of this quilt on The Quilt Index. This one is a smaller simpler version but the medallion is every bit as exciting. There is no information about the maker but the quilt is dated 1930-1949 and the record comes from the West Virginia Department of Archives and History.


I imagine there are more quilts out there that were inspired by the original made by Elizabeth Van Horne Clarkson. If you come across them I would appreciate hearing where you saw them so I can add the details to my history file!

Until I post tomorrow, happy sewing!
Karen H

14 comments:

  1. Karen, your quilt is stunning--and now I'm motivated to work on my hexagon quilt again! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I'm glad I've motivated you! Sometimes I need a nudge too!

      Delete
  2. Good Morning Karen
    How stunning! I am left in a hexi stupor after looking at these quilts. I love the colors you chose in your quilt. What size hexagons did you use? There is a quilt in a Quiltmania magazine which I am busy making (very slowly though) which reminds me of this quilt. I must get a picture to you. You do such fabulous work. Wow!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used 3/4" hexagons. There is a master template available under the English Paper Piecing tab. For me it is a perfect size!

      Quiltmania is a lovely magazine and it is loaded with so many inspirational stories and quilts!

      Delete
  3. Your quilt is gorgeous-I think I own that book-picked it up a garage sale-need to look for that. I will look forward to your tutorial tomorrow-I am anxious to try my first hexie Happy Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The old books were jam packed with information and inspiration!

      Delete
  4. Just beautiful Karen... I've never stitched a single Hexie but I'm watching from the wings...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Be warned....once you start making hexagons you could get hooked! I speak from personal experience!

      Delete
  5. My fingers hurt looking at all those gorgeous hexagons. Oh my your work is just amazing. I am aww struck. How long did that quilt take you to make. I don't think I will live long enough to achieve making a zillion hexagons. You are so inspiring.
    Hugs Bunny

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never have just one project on the go so it is hard to say how long it took. I probably worked on it off and on over a two year period and that includes the hand quilting. I just worried about the flower I was making at that moment and I enjoyed the making of it!

      Delete
  6. Your quilt is phenomenal! Bet it will hang in a museum someday! You are so inspiring. Love your hexie quilts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Susan - I wanted to send you an email but you are a no reply blogger. I am so grateful that I found the book with the picture at a time in my quilting life when I knew how to draft the pattern and put my own spin on the quilt!

      Delete
  7. Thanks for sharing your version, Karen -- I'm glad to know some of the history. That reprint of Ruth Finley's book by Dover was one of ONLY two books on quilting that I could find to sell when I opened my quilt shop in 1979!?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The old books still have value. They are loaded with inspiration and information.

      Delete